After working in the bar industry for about 12 years, Jason Meik took over a struggling State Street bar, Guadalajara de Noche. Inspired by a bar he frequented in Massachusetts, Meik renamed it The Republican, after his Irish-Catholic heritage, and sought to style it as the neighborhood’s traditionally Irish-themed bar.
Since opening, The Republican has attracted a loyal contingent of soccer fans, old school punk rockers, and many people from the surrounding area. It’s very much the neighborhood watering hole.
“The community is what I’m after,” Meik says.
Above all, The Republican is a soccer bar. Meik prioritizes The Republican’s T.V. screens to broadcast whatever match is going on. “It’s a [soccer] bar, it’s not a team-specific bar.” Meik says. “Any brand of [soccer]. If I can provide it, it’s available.” At almost any given time, regulars crowd into the bar to catch a match. Meik—himself a fan of soccer—follows Celtic and Liverpool, but of course supports Real Salt Lake.
In addition to soccer matches, The Republican presents different activity nights during the week. On Tuesdays, one can participate in dart games. On Wednesdays, the theme is Whiskey; and Thursdays are for purchasing mystery beers not usually stocked. Recently, The Republican has been hosting a feminist trivia night two Sundays out of the month and, occasionally, DJs will spin there.
“Friday and Saturday we leave organic, you know, for the DJs,” Meik says. “You can’t control the environment all the time. Sometimes you have to let people have their own way with your room.”
The Republican is located at 917 S State Street in Salt Lake.